The test center is something we are very proud of. It is a necessity to guarantee the quality we promise to our customers, as well to give a better insight into how our castors stands up to a growing market. The test center is a central part of Swede-Wheel, which means that the quality is the same regardless of whether the wheel, or bracket, is manufactured in Hillerstorp or Ningbo. The department grows as Swede-Wheel grows and our ambitions are increased, this has not least resulted in the hiring of test technician, Filip Fröst.
My interest in technology started in high school where I was studying a technology. I became extremely interested in 3D technology and to quickly get out to work I chose to study at polytechnic to be a 3D technician. My job as a test technician does not include a lot of 3D but as soon as I get time over, I usually help the boys in the development to draw.
During a test, nothing is left to chance, no variable is left untouched. Filip says that there are a dozen different tests he conducts on wheels and brackets and that these can be divided into three categories. Wear & tear, impact, and sustainability.
We test all our wheels to meet the EU standard and sometimes beyond it. Many of our customers have higher requirements where further tests need to be done. I also test wheels to be able to decipher flaws and strengths in our products to further develop them.
Wear & tear
I test endurance over time. I test how the jumper is affected by hard use over time by driving it in a carousel with obstacles. I also check that the track on the wheel is up to scratch by testing the wheel on sandpaper. On top of that, I have a machine that opens and closes the brake to make sure it lasts many years of use.
Here I test unexpected and irregular bangs that can easily happen in environments where our wheels are located. The test involves raising a weight that is then released on the wheel or bracket. For example, this simulates the collision of a forklift at high speed, nothing that happens every day, but we want our wheels to withstand this. I also freeze the wheels to -25 degrees to ensure the same quality in the outdoor environment at winter.
This category is primarily about the working environment. I make sure our wheels aren't too heavy to push. Our wheels should last a long time, but a body should last even longer and therefore it is important that the resistance is not too high. Above all, this is about starting the roll, because this is the heaviest.
One of the things that has become more important in recent days is the noise level. Since our wheels are used around the clock, they can't sound to loud and therefore I test the noise level when rolling. I think this category will only get bigger in the future. There are higher demands today on the work environment and everything around that part.
I would like to believe that quality and testing will have an even greater role in the future. If the trend of high shipping prices continues, a return will be devastating in some cases, and then an insurance of quality will be needed. We also see that the requirements for safety and work environment are increasing significantly and different countries have different requirements. We accumulate a lot of experience about different regulations as we work with customers from all over the world.